The Gambia: ICC endorses Gambia's Bensouda as chief prosecutor
ICC endorses Gambia's Bensouda as chief prosecutor
International Criminal Court members on Thursday endorsed Gambia's Fatou Bensouda as the next chief prosecutor for the main war crimes tribunal after her final rival withdrew.
An informal meeting of ICC countries in New York rallied behind Bensouda to take over from Luis Moreno-Ocampo in one of the most important international legal posts, diplomats said.
Bensouda, Moreno-Ocampo's deputy since 2004 and a former justice minister in Gambia, will be the only candidate when a formal election is held on December 12 at the annual meeting of the signatories to the Rome treaty that set up the court.
Moreno-Ocampo was the ICC's first prosecutor and has become a high-profile figure issuing warrants for the arrest of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and this year Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, before his death.
He has to stand down next June and African nations had been pressing for an African candidate as all of the seven official investigations underway are in the continent.
Bensouda has been the ICC deputy prosecutor since 2004. Before that she had been a trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania and also justice minister in the Gambia.
A field of 52 candidates was whittled down to Bensouda and Mohamed Chande Othman, chief justice of Tanzania. Othman withdrew on Wednesday as it became clear that African nations increasingly favored Bensouda, a UN diplomat said.
Andrew Cayley, the British co-prosecutor in the Cambodian special court handling Khmer Rouge trials, and Robert Petit, the Canadian Justice Department's top specialist on war crimes had made up the final four.
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